How God takes responsibility for his church in this world with reference to Revelation 11.

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dc.contributor.author Mnisi, Mhingwana George
dc.date.accessioned 2008-01-09T11:27:44Z
dc.date.available 2008-01-09T11:27:44Z
dc.date.issued 2008-01-09T11:27:44Z
dc.date.submitted 2004
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/209
dc.description.abstract The book of Revelation is a book that has continually received attention from many who have studied it. Many different views have been expressed on it. There are areas where there are agreements on some issues, while there are also other areas where there are disagreements. Among those areas where there are agreements concerning the book of Revelation are the following : that this book is an Apocalypse, it is a letter from the seer to the people who were experiencing a crisis and it is also a prophecy. As an Apocalypse, it involves visions of two types namely : symbolic visions and visions of heavenly beings. As apocalyptic writing it deals with the ideology that existed within a particular society. It seeks to balance the situation which has become unbearable to those who live within that society in crisis. In its attempts to re-dress the imbalance, it engages the hearer/reader in an intellectual battle rather than a physical one in order to get out of the undesirable condition. Its letter form makes it to communicate its message in an understandable way to the hearer/reader because its message is directed to a specific people at a specific place at a specific time. This status makes it real to the people of all times. As a Prophecy, it is prophesying into the present needs of a community in order for both the present and the future to be meaningful to the living community in crisis. To date there is no common date which all researchers agree upon as the date of writing of this book. Some hold the view that this book was written between 64 and 70 AD while others hold the view that it was written between 81 and 96 AD. I hold the view that Revelation was written between 81 and 96 AD because of the internal evidence in the book itself. The Book of Revelation uses mostly symbolic language in expressing its message. This is the author’s chosen method in order to express the heavenly message given to him in a way that earthly beings could be able to understand and make sense of it. Without the symbolic language, the message would be almost impossible to express to humans because of its mysterious nature. Symbols in Revelation are so powerful “…that it is impossible to find absolute realities behind each symbol” Du Rand ( 1994 : 254 ). Some scholars argue that the strength of the Book of Revelation does not lie in its theological meaning nor its historical information but rather in the evocative, persuasive power of its symbolic language which compels imaginative participation by the hearer/reader. The Book of Revelation came into existence because of the crisis situation that existed within the Johannine community at that time. Schussler Fiorenza calls this a ‘perceived crisis’. In that situation, life had become meaningless to the members of that community because of the oppressive system which was practiced on them. The author seeks to help the hearer/reader to deal with the situation in a way that will bring honour to God. The Christians in the first century were faced with challenges from both within and outside the Church. From within the, there were those Christians who were beginning to live an unacceptable moral life. From outside the Church there were those who were bringing wrong teachings into the Church. These challenges were causing some of the Christians to become unfaithful to God. There was pressure exerted upon the Christians to do what was contrary to their faith in order to be acceptable to their non-Christian counterparts. Such pressure was not necessarily verbal nor official. The seer was writing to encourage the members of that community to remain faithful to their God and refuse to be affected by these challenges. The author of the Book of Revelation wrote specific letters to the seven different Churches to address the specific situations that existed then within the Churches in Asia Minor. These seven Churches are understood to be representative of the Church as a whole today. In all these different Churches, the author exhorts the Believers to fight for the cause of their faith to the bitter end, whatever it may cost them. They are called upon to focus their minds on overcoming, even if it meant death for them. They were to see martyrdom as victory. Those who were to overcome these challenges were going to receive their rewards from their Master. The Book of Revelation makes it very clear to the Christians that opposition is facing them at all times because their Master was also opposed while He was still in the world. They are therefore called upon to be His witnesses throughout their lives. It is this witnessing for Jesus Christ which would bring them into conflict with their opponents. The picture of how the Church is going to be treated by the world is provided in the story of the two witnesses. The witnesses are given power to witness for Jesus Christ for a limited period on earth. During that predetermined period, God protects them from any kind of harm from the Devil. Even when the Devil wants to harm them he is unable to do so. At the end of this period, God removes His hand of protection upon them. It is at this moment that the enemy attacks them and kills them. The Church’s witness is therefore only for a limited period in this world. The Church will be hated because Jesus Christ was hated by the world too. During the Church’s period of witness, she is fully protected by God, nothing can harm her, no matter what happens. But after the Church shall have completed her witnessing task, God will remove His hand of protection from her and the enemy will attack the Church. The enemy’s attack on the Church will be so severe that it will look like it has been defeated by the Devil for a little while. During the period of ‘apparent defeat’, the world will rejoice over the ineffectiveness of the Church. The reason for that is because the Church’s message of sin and judgement has been tormenting the inhabitants of the earth. This points to the fact that the preaching of the true message of the Gospel offends the non - repenting opponents of God. After God’s own predetermined time has passed, God will instill new power and life into His Church. The Church will come to life again, and this to the surprise of the enemy. In the midst of all this, God is actively present in every situation which His Church finds itself in. All that happens to and through His Church is in accordance with God’s salvific plan. God allows whatever he wants to allow to happen in order for Him to demonstrate His power over His Creation. Included in God’s plan is that He will not let His opponents go unpunished. All those who oppose Him are going to be judged when the time comes. God will destroy the Devil and all his followers. However, nothing will force God to change His plans, not even the cries of His saints. The unbelieving inhabitants of the earth are given enough time to repent in order to escape God’s wrath. Victory is promised to all those who follow the Lamb, provided they remain faithful to their calling. From God’s side, the protection of their faith is guaranteed, hence they are called upon to actively witness without fear. After victory has been attained, whether through martyrdom or otherwise, all the victors will be rewarded by living permanently with the Lamb in the new heaven. God’s Church cannot be defeated, after everything has been said and done, the Church will come out the victor. en
dc.description.sponsorship Prof. J.A. du Rand en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Revelation 11 en
dc.title How God takes responsibility for his church in this world with reference to Revelation 11. en
dc.type Thesis en

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